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The ONE thing you need to fix on your Sales Team. Now.

November 1st, 2022

According to a recent survey of Executive Decision Makers by Forrester Research, 89% of sales meetings were considered to add no value to the Buyer. A complete failure…

In other words, nearly 9 out of 10 sales interviews do not only lack value, but they also diminish a company’s reputation by wasting the buyer’s time, actually INCREASING the chance of losing a sale!

You may be thinking…:

“How are MY salespeople, or my personal sales interactions, perceived by Decision Makers?”

“How can such a large percentage of salespeople consistently fail?”

and most importantly…:

“What can I do today to make sure MY salespeople add value during sales interviews?”  

Some of the more obvious and tactical reasons salespeople fail include trust-destroying behaviors like talking too much, not asking enough questions, not listening, the lack of a sales process, Happy Ears, and Premature Satisfaction™.  Each of these shortcomings must be eliminated in order to have effective buyer conversations. However, the most overlooked (and most essential) ingredient required to conduct a high-value, productive sales interview is a Salesperson’s Mindset & Beliefs. 

The conversation a salesperson has with his/herself is far more important than the conversation they are about to have with a Buyer. 

The data tells us that if you have 10 salespeople on your Team, 9 of them are likely to be turning off Decision Makers. It is also likely that these reps are making most, if not all, of the tactical mistakes I listed above.

Some of your salespeople may know it is important to ask more questions, talk less, and listen more, but they still do not do it.  They may know better, but they do not do better. This is because their words and behaviors live in conflict with their Self-Talk and their Mindset.  It ALL Starts here. Their Beliefs control their Behaviors, including how they listen, what they hear, what they miss, what they say, and their RESULTS.

Most salespeople are doomed before they even begin.  Buyers can sense intent. Even if you have the most incredible product or service in the market, most prospects will not buy from a person they don’t trust.

One cannot act Trustworthy. One can only BE Trustworthy. Prospects do not care what you know until they know that you care. If a sales rep believes that the goal of a conversation is to “Get the Order”, or to “Send a Proposal”, these Beliefs and Goals will pre-dispose them to acting, speaking and (not) listening in a way that will be counterproductive. Here is a list of more of the most common destructive beliefs that ineffective salespeople consistently tell themselves, making it difficult or impossible to facilitate effective sales interviews…:

  •  “It is more important to Educate the Prospect, than to Learn and Understand.”
  •  “It is more important to be Liked than to be Trusted.”
  •  “I really need this order.”
  •  “People who think things over will ultimately buy from me.”
  • “That sounds good” is a ‘buying signal.”
  •  “A great way to prove I am credible is by giving great presentations and demonstrating my expertise.”
  •  “I should always be Closing.”
  •  “Most of my prospects are being honest with me.”
  •  “If a prospect asks a good question, it is critical that I provide a comprehensive answer.”
  •  “If they need what I sell, they will ultimately buy from me.”

Every one of these beliefs will diminish a salesperson’s trustworthiness, reducing their selling effectiveness.

The Goal of every conversation should be simple.  In order to become a member of the Top 10%, a salesperson’s singular goal must be to remain in the conversation to facilitate mutual discovery only as long as it makes sense to do so for both the Buyer and Seller.  A salesperson should be stingy with their time, and generous with their questioning, understanding and empathy.

If a sales rep commits to any other objective (e.g: “getting the order” or “sending a proposal”), the buyer will sense their self-orientation. They may not throw you out of the office or hang up on you, but they will no longer trust you.   The conversation is essentially over.

All committed salespeople and sales teams can benefit greatly from training, coaching, and continuous improvement, and I would certainly encourage you to do it, but no aspect of training will have a bigger impact on growth and higher ROI than working on a salesperson’s mindset.

Copyright © Joe Zente 2022. All Rights Reserved.